Staffordshire Housing Group are hosting a wellbeing week for staff in memory of a colleague who died earlier this year.

The week of activities, mental health sessions and fundraising, started on Monday 5 November 2018, on what would have been Head of Marketing and Communications, Sandra Barber’s, 55th birthday. After battling with severe anxiety and depression, she tragically took her own life in May.

Diane Lea, the Group’s Chief Executive, said: “Sandra spent nearly 20 years of her working life with us and believed so strongly in our cause. She had bucket loads of passion, enthusiasm, ideas and creative thoughts that have defined who we are as a company today. We felt the best thing we could do in her memory was to annually have a range of activities that helped us focus on our personal well-being.”

Staff from across the organisation have all had a say in what type of activities they wanted to see during the week and ideas to raise money for mental health charity Mind.

During the week, staff have had the chance to take part in singing classes, dance classes, yoga sessions, cake decorating, mediation, Nordic walking and gym sessions. As well as sessions on how to spot mental health issues in yourself and others, and how to approach someone you think might need a little extra help or support.

Charlotte Hopley, Support Practitioner at charity Arch, said: “I think this week is a really good idea. It’s something to remember a team member, who was going through her own mental health difficulties and it’s a really good way to honour her, but also to check on other members of the team and make sure that everybody is doing OK.”

Ben Lowe, Senior Communications Officer, said: “I think it’s up to everybody to look after mental health, whether that’s you looking after yourself, friends and family giving you the support you need, but more importantly nowadays is employers actually recognising that they need to look out for their workforce.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why this week is so important just to give the chance for staff to take an hour away from their desks, relax, meet other people, and talk with other people.”